Book Review: The Montessori Toddler
Briony Richter, editor, NMT explains why we should take a leaf out of Simone Davies book on embracing the Montessori Method
The Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being
“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavour always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.”
Choosing a Montessori approach for your child has many well-known benefits. Recognised for its child-centred and individually paced learning, the Montessori Method, developed by Dr Maria Montessori, encourages independence, empathy, confidence, and a passion for lifelong learning through exploration.
For the parent of any little one between the ages of 1 and 3, The Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being by Simone Davies is the perfect place starting point for developing a Montessori environment at home.
An extremely interesting read, the book follows Maria Montessori’s principles of raising independent and responsible children by following their lead wherever possible and safe to do so.
The book covers various aspects of the journey through toddlerhood, including developmental milestones, practical life skills, creating a prepared environment, fostering independence, and promoting curiosity.
Through each section, Davies shares practical advice on how to very easy ways to embed a Montessori-inspired home environment including building reading and activity nooks, getting involved in food and how to set up toys and resources in a way that encourage curiosity and exploration.
Using Montessori at home
What I love most about this book is that the author goes into real detail at every stage so that reader not only understands the principle but also how to put it into action easily.
It follows every aspect of living with a toddler, sharing hundreds of practical ideas for coping with change and cultivating daily routines such as toilet training, washing and cleaning teeth, getting dressed and interacting with siblings.
Some of examples Davies points to are:
- Creating a cozy reading nook: Reading is such a special time for children and Davies encourages parents to create a reading nook in the home where toddlers can curl up with a book. Make this a place that relaxes them with blankets and pillows and a small spot to place a selection of books they can choose from
- Chalk & Duster: Get some pieces of chalk that fit easily into a child’s hand and get drawing. It will allow full arm movement as children practice. Easy to clean up, you can get the child to use the duster to finish up at the end
- Organising toys: Montessori is all about creative exploration and so the way in which we set up toys should reflect that. Rotating toys and other resources around every couple of weeks will keep toddlers engaged and interested in searching through them.
- Encouraging independence: The book highlights that fostering independence is crucial for children. They will learn to make choices and take responsibility for those choices. To do this get your child involved in the daily routing like putting their clothes on, helping with a talk or choosing snacks for the day
Toddlers live in the present moment. They pick things up effortlessly and are enormously capable, but they need the freedom to explore the world around them. This doesn’t mean a completely hands-off, laissez-faire approach; Davies highlights that parents can and should set guidelines for some areas and that this also helps children understand safe risks and limitations.
So, whether you are new to Montessori or have used it for a while, the ideas that are shared in this book will help you develop an approach that will help you plant the seeds to raising a responsible, confident and respectful person.
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